flush-mounted, mounted again to museum board, matted, framed, 1907, printed between 1924 and 1932
Gift of the photographer to Dorothy Norman
To Howard Greenberg, around 1989
Acquired by the present owners from Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, 1997
Other gelatin silver prints of this image:
Doris Bry, Alfred Stieglitz: Photographer (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1995), pl. 8
Other prints of this image:
Camera Work Number 36 (1911)
Dorothy Norman, Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer (Aperture, 1973), pl. XVI
Dorothy Norman, Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer (Aperture, 1990), p. 65
Sarah Greenough, Modern Art and America: Alfred Stieglitz and His New York Galleries (National Gallery of Art, 2000), pl. 30
Sarah Greenough and Juan Hamilton, Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs and Writings (National Gallery of Art Washington, 1983), pl. 18
Therese Mulligan, ed., The Photography of Alfred Stieglitz: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Enduring Legacy (George Eastman House, 2000), fig. 9
William Innes Homer, Stieglitz and the American Avant-Garde (Boston, 1977), pl. 34
Robert Doty, Photo-Secession: Photography as a Fine Art (George Eastman House, 1960), pl. I
Robert Doty, Photography in America (Whitney Museum of American Art, 1974), p. 99
Robert Doty, Photo-Seccession: Stieglitz and the Fine Art Movement (Dover, 1978), p. 119
Waldo Frank, Dorothy Norman, et al., America and Alfred Stieglitz (New York, 1934), pl. XXVII – B
Jonathan Green, ed,. Camera Work: A Critical Anthology (Aperture, 1973), p. 307
Beaumont Newhall, The History of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (The Museum of Modern Art, 1964), p. 112
Sarah Greenough et alii., On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Photography (National Gallery of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago, 1989), p. 212
Barbara Haskell, The American Century: Art and Culture 1900-1950 (Whitney Museum of American Art, 1999), pl. 94
Michel Frizot, ed., A New History of Photography (Cologne, 1998), p. 393
Ben Maddow, 'Tears and Misunderstanding,' Aperture, No. 92, Fall 1983, p. 29
It is believed that this print of Stieglitz's signature image, The Steerage, is one of two gelatin silver prints in private hands. Sarah Greenough, in Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Photographs, lists similarly-sized gelatin silver prints of The Steerage in the following institutional collections: The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
This print of The Steerage comes originally from the collection of photographer and writer Dorothy Norman. Norman first met Stieglitz in 1927, when she was 17 years old, at Stieglitz’s The Intimate Galleries. Norman became fascinated with Stieglitz and his work, and the two became lovers. In 1973, Norman published Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer, a memoir of the years she spent with the photographer.
In 1995, Dorothy Norman wrote of this print, 'The photograph "Steerage" by Alfred Stieglitz, a gelatin silver print, made between 1924 and 1932, was given to me by Stieglitz during the years of An American Place. He printed this photograph from the original negative, as he did with several early Camera Work images during that time. I myself used this print for a reproduction in Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer. It had originally been mounted to a board by Stieglitz and is, in my opinion, a finished and fine print.' A copy of this letter accompanies this lot.
Greenough relates that Stieglitz reprinted selected earlier negatives for a number of exhibitions of his work beginning in 1924. It became Stieglitz’s practice to show new gelatin silver prints of older images along with his most recent work: ‘[Stieglitz] rooted his newest photographs in his older studies, demonstrating similarities not just in subject matter and style, but approach and meaning. In 1924, for example, when he first exhibited his small compositions of rapidly changing clouds, he also showed small gelatin silver contact prints of The Terminal and The Steerage that were equally complex and fluid’ (Greenough, pp. xlvi-xlvii).
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